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171
4.7 out of 5 stars
Kaspar: Prince of Cats
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2008
Kaspar is about Johnny Trott, a bell boy in the Savoy Hotel in London, who is an orphan. He is trusted with the duty of looking after a guest's cat but this cat is no ordinary cat; it is the prince of all cats. He becomes good friends with a rich girl called Elisabeth and he stows away on the Titanic so that he can be with her. But the Titanic hits an iceberg and he is the one to tell Elisabeth and her family that the ship is sinking. At the last minute he realises that he has forgotten the cat and he must go and fetch him.
Sometimes everything seems to be going badly for Johnny but things are never as bad as you may think. It has a more than satisfying conclusion.
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72 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2008
My eight year old daughter and I are devoted Michael Morpurgo fans and Kaspar is undoubtedly our favourite so far. Beautifully illustrated and told with great empathy for the human and animal subjects. In all his stories he tackles big issues for children to understand and the portrayal of the sinking of the Titanic is no exception. Even so he kept us both gripped and the ending brought a lump to my throat. Whether you are a devotee or a first time reader you will not be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2014
Normally, if I saw a children's book that was around 200 pages long and filled with illustrations, I would be skeptical about it being a good story. But I've read one like it before, by the same author so I was pretty hopeful about this one too. It really lived up to my expectations! If the name Michael rings a bell it should - he's written books such as War Horse, Kensuke's Kingdom and Private Peaceful.

The book is about Kaspar but told from the point of view of Johnny, a fourteen year old working at the Savoy Hotel in London, in the early 1900's. His dreams are far bigger than being a bell boy for the rest of his life and when a Countess walks through the doors of the Hotel one day, his entire life changes.

There's a lot of sad, and happily sad, events in this story. Pretty quickly into this book things take a turn for the worse and Johnny finds himself tasked with the job of keeping Kaspar a secret, as he's not allowed pets in the Hotel. Things get better when he meets Lizziebeth, a spirited girl from America, who discovers Kaspar and immediately falls in love with him.

Of course, the Titanic plays a big part in Johnny's life later in the story and despite it being such a tragic event, it could also have been one of the best things that happened to him, in an odd way. The ending was perfect (purrfect?), yet sad. Happily sad though! I did cry a little.

I loved this book most of all for it's ability to appeal to both children and adults. It's a very memorable story and the history is described perfectly, making everything easy to picture. I highly recommend this and another book of Michael's I have read, The Mozart Question, which I (almost) guarantee will make you cry a little.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2012
This is a beautifully written story which I first read myself aged 26 and have since shared with nieces, nephews and classes of children in school. Without exception they have all loved it. It's great to find stories which both boys and girls enjoy equally, and I can definitely put Kaspar Prince of Cats into this category. A firm favourite on my bookshelf!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2013
A good read for 7-10 year olds (approx). As usual from Michael Morpurgo, it is well written with engaging characters and plot. We are going to use with Year 5 pupils because of the Titanic link.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another beautiful little tale from Morpurgo with an animal at its heart.

Abandoned London pageboy, Johnny Trot, meets a Russian Countess at the hotel in which he works. With her is her cat, Kaspar, a Prince, says the Countess. Becoming friends with them both, he finds himself alone in caring for the cat unexpectedly. And then Elizabeth comes to stay at the hotel with her parents, offering friendship to the orphan. But her day of departure draws near - she is to sail for America... on the Titanic...

Good period detail, a nice story of friendship, and a wonderful account for children of the sinking of the Titanic. It doesn't hold back from saying what happened, and you really do root for Johnny and Kaspar to make it safely out of the water.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2011
I was in an impulsive mood when i bought this, seen it had a cute black cat on the cover like mine snapped it up,read the blurb on the back it mentioned the titanic,thought it sounded interesting so i got it.Now bearing in mind im 21 an this is a kids book i really enjoyed it lol not that it bothers me its a kids book as i read anything that appeals an many diff books.Its a nice happy story apart from some bits obviously cuz the titanics in it but i thought the author was very good the way he covered it, its more based around the cat than actually about it but i enjoyed the story and im sure any child would love this,i defo would have when i was a kid
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I've been reading this one with my 7 yr old at bedtime, and it went down a storm. It was her first Morpurgo, and she's keen to read more.

Johnny Trott is a bellboy at the Savoy and it is his engaging voice that tells us Kaspar's (and his own) story. We soon warmed to Johnny, whose past and feelings are interwoven effectively with his narration of the story's events. Other characters were equally masterfully drawn, including an enigmatic Russian opera-singing Countess, a vindictive Head Housekeeper and a mischievous but warm-hearted wealthy American girl.

Period detail, especially the contrast between high and low classes of the time, is clearly-drawn and absorbing. My daughter certainly learned a lot. The few chapters dealing with the Titanic voyage transported us there with depictions of sounds, smells and sights and we were gripped by the account of the sinking. The younger among us were particularly excited that the story included Things that Really Happened - although I suppose that could create confusion in some young readers, especially if they're reading alone.

What I especially appreciated about the book is its gentleness. It deals with some fairly mature themes and concepts, yet it does so in a non-threatening and relatively comfortable way. I don't know if my daughter would have coped well with reading it on her own, but it was a great read to share and prompted many worthwhile conversations.

So, this rates for me as a classic children's book, taking you out of reality and into someone else's experience. And, as a bonus (and speaking as a teacher), there is additional educational value in the historical aspect of the book.
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on 26 July 2013
Kasper Prince of Cats is a heart-warming tale by award winning author Michael Morpurgo. The book contains 207 pages of happiness,sadness and suspense; a real rollercoaster of emotions; the perfect mix to make a good book.
The cover shows a dark night creeping down from above,a famous boat laying helplessly in the raging sea and then the black cat called Kasper, the main character.
The book is about Johnny Trot, who works at the Savoy hotel in London. He is miserable because his life is quite dull... but then he meets Countess Kandinsky. She has a beautiful cat called Kasper, who changes Johnny's life forever. But one day the Countess disappears into heaven and so Johnny has to look after Kasper. But he meets Lizziebeth, a young girl, and the adventures begin!
The good parts about the book are the pictures: you can't enjoy a book without pictures to help visualise what is happening, and the fact that you want to read more is like a secret ingredient that makes the book lovable. There is nothing bad about the book that I know of, but you might find something bad if you read the book yourself!

A thrilling book to enjoy!
10/10. (love it!)
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on 5 September 2009
Johnny Trott, a 14-year-old orphan raised in a workhouse in London, is bell-boy at the Savoy Hotel in London. One day, his life is changed forever when he is asked by a guest - a famous Russian countess and opera singer - to help look after her cat, Kaspar. Little does he know that this encounter will take him and Kaspar on an adventure across the Atlantic, on board the Titanic on her maiden voyage. But tragedy strikes the fated pair when, one night, the ship collides with an iceberg. Is this the end of their journey? Will they survive?

Michael Morpurgo has a wonderful, lucid, fluid writing style. This story tackles tough issues such as poverty, blackmail and death, but, more than that, it is a story of friendship, generosity of the human spirit and survival in the hardest of circumstances. It is beautifully illustrated by Michael Foreman, whose drawings bring Johnny Trott's experiences of the early 20th century vividly to life.
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